tv [untitled] August 26, 2012 1:30am-2:00am PDT
i want to make some comments with regard to this item. i would like to thank the office of supervisor chiu who was working with the neighborhood to try to secure the building to get lights on at night, to close up the windows without looking like a blighted building. a new issue, there is a card that is always parked in the front yard of the vacant lot. there is an article in the chronicle today about cars parking on sidewalks. the planning code also prohibits parking on vacant lots in residential neighborhoods. while earning some men come from this car, -- and, from this car, someone is earning some income from this vacant lot. in exchange for that, or whether
you continue to allow it, it would be nice if the nevada council provided lighting, security, alarms within the building to note the motion or fire or smoke. the building is an architectural resources. an historic resources as defined by ceqa. until such time as this commission approves the replacement building, they may not act on the demolition permit that is before the commission. no need to remind you that the intent to disapprove was as a result of two hearings, actually. one from a number of years ago and more recently, the hearing where even though the new architect presented a building with a different suit, the
mapping and height and bulk was still unacceptable to a number of commissioners. forward with your intent to disapprove. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> i represent the california and nevada conference of the united methodist church. the owners of 1601 larkin. many of the remarks are more directed towards the zoning administrator down the planning commission. i have to stand up here and save them because i cannot directly direct the zoning commissioner. the zoning commissioner has the power to issue a demolition permit. we have filed a lawsuit demanding that the city issue as a demolition permit. that lawsuit is in the process
of a settlement. the next settlement hearing is scheduled for september 13. we believe the city has the power and the zoning administrator has the power to issue a demolition permit. there has been no substantial burden analysis by the city in any public document showing that the city has even analyzed the substantial burden as required. the decision of the city to deny a zoning permit law violated the religious land use act. the building is not an historic structure under ceqa as a matter of law. we would urge the zoning administrator to issue eight demolition permit for the demolition of the building as required by state and federal law. thank you. >> i have a couple more speaker cards.
>> i am here to -- i have been involved in this case since it started in 2007. as mr. moller referenced, -- but the referenced, this building was voted on twice. -- butler referenced, this building was voted on twice. there were nine commissioners that voted on a conditional use. only one vote for this project. i am here to follow the process through. i urge you to please go through and denied this project as it is. >> thank you.
>> good afternoon, commissioners. i would like to read a letter. we passed resolution concerning 1601 larkin street. that shall incorporate elements of the historic first st. john's methodist church. this approves the eir and the proposal for the project. the recent requirements by staff and a new architect are similar in height and mass. we strongly support efforts to
reserve the reuse of the historic buildings. we oppose demolition tactics to win project approval. we believe san francisco mo greatly benefit if historic preservation laws and sepal laws are strictly enforced. -- ceqa laws are strictly enforced. we will never forget what this developer did to the japantown vote. the developer tried to diminish the cherry blossom festival food fair, which is right by his condos that were built at a site where the japantown residents were being evicted many years ago. that is ridiculous, but it is beside the point. you have an opportunity to preserve this historic building.
i urge you to do that, please. thank you. >> a couple more speakers. [reading names] >> good afternoon. i am a member of senior action network. our board has recently voted to ask you to disapprove the proposed project. i am here to explain our position to you can read parts of our letter. we want to thank you for listening to the residence of the neighborhood. we want a project that incorporates the historical is significant church and as desirable neighborhood amenities, such as a community
room, st. setbacks. passing the motion of disapproval is only beginning of what the citizens of san francisco want and need. to spend five years, the city has been challenged with too expensive lawsuits the existing structure has been allowed to deteriorate, a significant cultural artifacts have been vandalized, and now we are discussing ill-conceived proposals that have been concluded and the eir. we are no nearer to an acceptable outcome. let's go back to the original vision of the methodist church. what they intended was non- profit housing. other examples of such an adaptive reuse, already enhance the city and can serve as models. we know local architects and housing nonprofits who are
interested in developing nonprofit senior housing. now is the time to finally do the right thing. please do not negotiate and renegotiate a poor idea. let's give san francisco the housing it needs to be an inclusive city. let's give the neighborhood the amenities and wants and needs. [applause] >> thank you. if i have called your name, you can approach the podium. >> my name is greg wood. what i think you were not getting is that the church has told the city previously today and today that continued efforts to infringe the churches right to use its property as it has proposed to do it will cost the church substantial hardship.
it is likely to deprive the church of the economic return on its property, the reasonable use of its property, or the appropriate use of its property. this is not the commission acting -- this is not just anybody property. this is a religious organizations building. this is a first amendment issue, this is a government code section issue. i urge you to exercise restraint and light of the fact there is a religious organization on the other side of the table. >> thank you. deborah benedict. >> thank you very much. my name is betty trainer and i am president of the board at senior action network.
i am here to also not support the demolition of this housing, but rather to see an alternative project that has been presented by some of the neighbors for affordable senior housing and dislocation. as was mentioned, we have a wonderful model in japantown that used to be a synagogue that was converted into senior housing. as other reports have been presented to the city about the very large increase in our senior population here in san francisco, we need more and more affordable housing for seniors. this would be a wonderful example of a place that we could use. we have support from the neighborhood and we would like to have this alternative be considered. it would not include the demolition of the property. it would try to maintain the historic architecture.
it would allow for some housing for much needed for our seniors. thank you very much. >> linda chapman. i know you do not want my legal device. steve taylor is an attorney who represents churches against cities, like the city of berkeley. he sent his statement about this. i assume it went to the city attorney. it has to do with whether or not people are allowed churches -- churches are allowed to do their activities at a particular site, not are they able to use the site they do not want for religious activities for some other purpose. anyway, that is not for you to decide.
what i want to say, at the previous hearing, you heard from a professional who said what we have to rely on is the planning code. not little negotiations back and forth. i would also like to say that in this case, the whole neighborhood would be out on the subject if they knew about it. the information about this alternative has not been disseminated. one woman i met with last night, said she has not had any notices of hearings at all. people really do not know very much about this. three people have been downed and only gets redacted files or
nothing at all. it does not seem right. you would be hearing from more neighbors. we have the result of signatures on petitions for 150 people opposing the demolition of the church. what i sent you today -- and i know you have not time to read it. he was a neighbor down the street. i have a long list, which you will receive, of people from other neighborhoods who are supporting our alternative and opposing the demolition of this church. i urge you to go ahead with what you are proposing to do. among the people whose letters
you may be did not get --many more who you will see. >> thank you. deborah benedict. >> i have letters from the older women's league that i would like to have each one of you have. i will put it up here. i am the someone who was previously mentioned. your commissioners, i am writing you in regards to revised condo
designed for 1601 larkin street. it calls for demolition of the former st. john's church and building, 27 condos at that location. older women's league of san francisco supports the alternative plan, the senior housing project. it offers an opportunity for older women to age in place in their community, provide badly needing meeting space to elders and organizations and preserved historic structure in our neighborhood. we support the concept of adaptive reuse of the 1911 first st. john's united methodist church. a restored structure has potential for abuses that could benefit the surrounding
community. -- for uses that could benefit the surrounding community. as a russian hill resident, i oppose demolition of the neighborhood resource, especially one that contributes to neighborhood history and ambience. we oppose demolition of neighborhood resources and support an alternative, partial preservation for reuse as affordable senior housing. san francisco it needs buildings that support community, family, and elders. rather than increasing population density and buildings like the one being proposed. which are too big for their lots and had little value to our community rather than becoming an asset to the city. signed, sincerely, melanie grossman, ph.d., licensed
clinical social worker, chair of owl sf. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> i have to speak on a couple of points. i am not against condos because i think we need condos. but we do not need more market rate condos. and more condos that only did not provide all of the parking that they should. we need more senior housing. i am a member of the aging baby boomers. i am here supporting and other housing thing, but i see this housing on larkin street as a building that will not have
affordable housing, it it will be market rate. i got a thing the other day, market rate to the city is $268 for the 1-bedroom unit. $605 for the condo fees. that is not fair, that is not what i am thinking about. what i am thinking about is condos that can be rented by seniors at an affordable rate with their social security and their pensions and everything else in doubt because of the coming election. this last lady, she said, we need senior housing just for women. isn't that discriminatory? isn't that sexist? there should be men and women,
transsexuals and whatever in the city, there should not be an exclusionary sexual place just for women. it's include both men and women. straight and gay and such. that is what i feel, thank you for listening to me. >> thank you. any other public comment on this item? >> [inaudible] could not have the overhead? >> [inaudible] 1 start talking, it will come up -- once you start talking, it
will come up. your time is running. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i was running a little late. i want to submit this list of all the signatures for preservation. the last time we heard about this project was 2010. at that time, you did not approve the project for the first building. i have one copy. i want to report all of my observations. there has been a lot of vandalism to the church. it is right in front of where i live. even if i do not want to see it, i see it. it is disturbing.
these two when does right here -- windows were moved to an 15th overnight before the previous hearing. there were boarded up. after that, [inaudible] more windows on the side of there by the trees, on the top floor, there are four windows and the bottom half has been removed. whenever this happens, i call 3- 1-1 and a route it to dpw and nothing happens. they get the maintenance crew from the owner. they say that it was stolen. it is hard for me to believe that somebody could steel
windows, specially under the bell tower, under night. you could fall to your death. there were windows removed even higher than that. goes for, like, at the peak. -- those were, like, at the peak. my time is up? >> i think you have 20 seconds. >> 3 lot of people trying to sell the property across the street. -- there are a lot of people trying to sell the property across the street. all this extreme blight is horrible for the church, for the real-estate market, for all of the neighbors. the constant homeless problem. it is horrible. >> would you like to offer your name for the record? thank you very much. public comment on this item? the public comment portion is
closed. commissioners? commissioner hillis: i was not on the commission for the prior hearing. i did had a chance to review all of the material. i felt comfortable voting on this item. i am supporter of -- supportive of the draft motion. commissioner moore: on june 28, 2012, the planning commission passed a motion to disapprove. this topic has been exhaustively discussed. we had extensive meetings. nothing has been added. i move to disapprove. >> seconds. commissioner antonini: i would like to set the record straight on some of our earlier discussions. earlier today, it was
represented by one speaker that there was a vote for the project. there was no vote for the project. i did vote -- i did not vote for the intent to disapprove. i worked very hard to try to offer a continuance to work out a solution that could craft a building that would be acceptable to the neighborhood. my votes was one that i would hope other commissioners would of also voted against the motion to disapprove. that did not happen. i still feel this building has come a long way from what we originally saw the first time around in terms of design. the design is much better, a very innovative handling of the combination bay balcony, which i have never seen before. i did advocate for a community
room, a gathering space, and one less floor. unfortunately, the offer to bring the building down in size only came that day. it was a little late in the game for the project sponsor. how the project sponsor been working with the neighbors -- had the project sponsor been working with the neighbors, there might of been a possibility to come up with a project that would have been acceptable to the neighbors and the project sponsor and the methodist church. in its format, it is still too high, in my opinion. it does not step down to the adjacent buildings. everyone who spoke, including a lot of reputable structural engineers, pointed out that trying to retrofit the church
other than if the church themselves wanted to have -- one to do it themselves with attention to the cost, this was not going to happen. a lot of people have ideas, but no one has come forth with money. i really feel that ultimately, some projects will occur similar to what has been proposed. project sponsor could have helped himself out and helped everyone out if he had been responsive to the needs of the neighbors and if he had crafted a project that was lower, as was called for by the commission two years before that. i would also encourage project sponsor, until such time this decision is made on the demolition, that the building should be closed up and perhaps lights should be eliminated at night. get rid of the car, put some security alarms, these are all
inexpensive things that could be done. it could improve the quality around the building and with courage -- would discourage homeless encampments. it may end up that it would be decided that the church will be demolished. until that time, project sponsor could help everybody out by doing some things to make a safer environment. i will vote along with a motion today, realizing that it is fruitless to try to propose a continuance, it is clear that even at this project is disapproved, it could come back within one year -- after one year's time for a conditional use. i would also expect that, although i do not know this for sure, since we have already passed the environmental peace, if the new project had and packs that were equal to or less than the impacts of the one we approved, they would probably